His routes were crisp, his hands sure and his explosiveness what it was as a perennial 1,000-yard Pro Bowl receiver in Cincinnati.
In the long run, it might not mean much. After all, early reviews of the 12-year pro in New England were similarly shimmery. For his part, Ochocinco declined to proclaim himself the No. 1 receiver on a depth chart with only modest competition based on NFL production. But he was in midseason form in front of the microphone.
"The workout was good," Ochocinco said. "It's been very good the past couple of days. I'm enjoying the opportunity to come here and play at home, to play with a great organization. There's a lot of changes being made here. Coaching staff ... I'm enjoying it. I'm developing ... chemistry with the players. I'm just having fun. It feels good to have a fresh start. I'm gonna do whatever I can not only to improve my game, but to help this organization get back to where they want to be."
Ochocinco was released by the Patriots and has only been on the Dolphins' roster for eight days. He's new to the playbook, but not to South Florida, his offseason and childhood home. Ochocinco played at Miami Beach High School before attending Oregon State and being drafted in the second round by the Bengals.
"It's been a childhood dream of mine growing up watching the Marks brothers, watching Dan (Marino), some of those guys," Ochocinco said. "You would think throughout the years; since 1988 I've always played Madden, and I've always used the Dolphins no matter where I was or where I was playing.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Bengals, Ochocinco was waived by the Patriots after one disappointing season in New England in which he started only three games, caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown. As part of his fresh start and return to his roots, Ochocinco -- who was assigned jersey No. 85 -- might return to his given name of Chad Johnson.
"To be able to wear the teal and orange, it's a pretty good feeling," Ochocinco said. "But for me, it's about getting back to the basics, going back to where it all started. Not as far as playing at home in Miami, but as far as the game goes and getting back to who we're all used to seeing and how I became what I am. I think I kind of lost that. I'm looking to go back to Chad Johnson, and just make it live again."
The Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall to the Bears for a third-round pick and signed only Legedu Naanee in free agency. Davone Bess and Brian Hartline are the lone returning impact veterans on the roster. The Dolphins drafted Clyde Gates in the fourth round of the 2011 draft and took two receivers late in the 2012 draft -- sixth-rounder B.J. Cunningham and seventh-round Rishard Matthews in the seventh.